Remarks by President Biden After Marine One Arrival

Published: Tue Feb 07 2023

South Lawn

4:08 P.M. EST

Q Do you take any blame for mishandling classified documents, Mr. President?


Q Mr. President -

THE PRESIDENT: To - to answer: Wait until you get the whole report.

Q Mr. President, does the balloon weaken U.S.-Chinese relations?

THE PRESIDENT: No. We've made it clear to China what we're going to do. They understand our position. We're not going to back off. We did the right thing. And there's not a question of weakening or strengthening; it's just the reality.

Q Mr. President, the balloon in Latin America - the balloon has been spotted over Colombia and Costa Rica. Is the United States worried? Have you talked to your partners in the region?

THE PRESIDENT: The Defense Department has. I have not talked to our partners (inaudible).

Q Is Kamala Harris is doing a great job at the border, Mr. President? Is Kamala Harris doing a great job with root causes -

THE PRESIDENT: She's doing a good job.

Q - of migration?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, she is.

Q You've known about the balloon program for some time -

THE PRESIDENT: Say that again.

Q You've known about the balloon program for some time. Has it always been your view to shoot down a Chinese spy balloon? Or was it only because it became public?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, no. It was always my position. Once it came over the Uni- - into the United States from Canada, I told the Defense Department I wanted to shoot it down as soon as it was appropriate.

Q Does this change -

THE PRESIDENT: They concluded - they concluded we should not shoot it down over land, it was not a serious threat, and we should wait until it got across the water.

Q Does this change your speech tomorrow night, sir? And your foreign policy message?


Q Mr. President, why the Chinese would commit such a brazen act of floating across the entire continental United States?

THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) They're the Chinese government.

Q Can you give us a sense of what you'd like to accomplish tomorrow night with the State of the Union address?

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I want to talk to the American people and let them know the state of affairs - what's going on, why I - what I'm looking forward to working on from this point on, what we've done, and just have a conversation with the American people.

Q Why are you against sending F-16s to Ukraine?

THE PRESIDENT: Because we should keep them here. That's a totally different situation.

Q Are you confident the U.S. can avoid a recession after the jobs numbers that we saw on Friday? What is the risk of a recession, do you think?

THE PRESIDENT: Still what it was: very low. I believed it all along.

As you noticed, every economist was telling me, every six months, "We're going to have a recession." So far, so good. But we have to be very careful.

Q Do you think the United States should ban TikTok?


Q Do you think the United States should ban TikTok?

THE PRESIDENT: Should ban TikTok?

Q TikTok, yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that - the answer, I'm not sure. I know I don't have it on my phone.

Q If you can't trust China on the balloon, can we trust it on other things, such as its official COVID count in China? Can you trust it on other things now?

THE PRESIDENT: The question of the balloon and attempting to spy on the United States is something that's anticipated from China. The question is whether or not - when we asked China what they're doing, they didn't deny they had the balloon over - they just denied what it was.

And it's not a question of trusting China, it's a question of deciding where we should work together and where we have opposition.

Thank you.

4:12 P.M. EST

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